International recruitment – compliance update

22 February 2023

Here’s our latest round-up of notable changes affecting international workers and recruitment businesses.

Visa news

Skilled contractors and the agencies that place them must always remain compliant with local and international employment and tax laws. Keeping pace with rules isn’t easy, here’s an update on some recent changes.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) residents – with an estimated 20 requests for travel visas per week, appointment times have had to be pushed back by consulates unable to deal with the volume of travel visas. This has in turn increased the processing time, which currently stands at around one month. For those who are in a greater rush to travel, the advice given to them has been to consider entering via other countries in the bloc, such as The Netherlands and the Czech Republic, which have shorter waiting times.

EU visa requirements for global contractors

Following a number of postponements, from November 2023 travellers into the EU will have to apply for ETIAS authorisation, especially those looking to travel in November and December. ETIAS is actually a visa waiver pre-screening system, part of the EU’s visa-free programme that for example affects travellers from countries such as the UK, US, New Zealand and South Africa (63 non-EU countries are exempt from Schengen visa requirements). The application process takes about 10 minutes and costs €7 and lasts for two years. If a passport expires, ETIAS will automatically terminate.

Best countries to work

Research portal Numbeo, looked at the best countries to work, accounting for several key indicators including average rents, cost of shopping/basket of goods, restaurant prices, utility bills and entertainment. There are a myriad of other different considerations to factor in when making such an important decision, notably safety and crime rates, education and air quality/pollution not to mention lifestyle and climate benefits. And of course, internet, Wi-Fi speeds, connectivity and shared, coworking spaces are all key factors for contractors looking at their next role.

  • One of the countries that ticks all the boxes is Montenegro, which has a high cost-of-living index, relatively low rents and a two-year visa for digital nomads, which can be extended by a further two years if needed.
  • Portugal is also an appealing destination though rents in the capital aren’t cheap and to qualify for a digital nomad visa (valid for up to 12 months), you need to earn at least €3,040 per month.
  • Croatia is well placed for travelling around Europe and began to offer special visas for non-EU workers from January 2021, exempting these workers from income tax for up to one-year duration of their stay.
  • Contractors from the likes of Australia, South Korea, New Zealand and Japan can take advantage of fast-tracked visas in Lithuania, which may be obtained relatively quickly.
  • A country that slips under the radar is Hungary, yet it has a favourable cost of living with very affordable rents. Many global companies have an established presence in the country so there are myriad jobs for global contractors. It also offers a digital nomad visa, which is called the ‘White Card’ though to qualify you need to be earning a minimum of €2,000 per month.
  • Fellow East European country, Poland is flourishing economically. Its cost of living score is strong although there is no digital nomad visa, you can apply for a D-Type long-stay visa.

Tax news

Last month officials from European Union Countries and the Foreign Ministry of Turkey met in Ankara to discuss easing visa processes for Turkish citizens, according to a report from Hurriyet Daily News. One of the potential outcomes from the meetings could be the release of a so-called emergency visa, particularly aimed at students and business professionals, which would allow for a more expedited application process for Turkish professionals looking to work across the EU.

The accession of Croatia to the EU and the Schengen Area forms a significant shift and is one for professionals who are lucky enough to operate in the country to be aware of. While the changing currency is the most notable change, contractors operating here should also be aware of potential adaptations to the regulatory landscape that could follow as the country gets to grips with its new status.

Need help?

If you have any queries regarding overseas tax and compliance, please find out more about our international services or get in touch with our specialist team.


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